Something that nobody tells you about having children

 
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Your child will spend his entire life gradually moving farther away from you.

At first, he and you are the same. He eats through you. He poops through you. He pokes your belly from inside of you with his feet. His heart beats inside of you.

Then he is born and ripped out of you. He cries. You cry. He is taken away to the table, few feet away. Eventually they bring him back and put him on your chest. A nurse once told me: “Mom’s arms are the best place in the world.” You both agree on that.

Hurray, it turns out you are still really close! You carry him in your arms. He eats off your boobs. He sleeps with you. He must see your face. So, you show it. As often as you can afford.

Next, he learns to walk and starts walking away from you. First, a few tiny steps. Your heart melts when you hear a pitter patter of his little feet coming back towards you. But he gradually expands his range and starts running towards cars and strangers.

Separate eating. Separate sleeping. And school is next. He is now away from you by 10–15 feet at night and 6–7 hours during the day. Eventually, he learns how to hike up the mountains. And dive into the oceans. Far, far away from you.

College is next. He moves out. To another city. Sometimes, country. He is all happy and shit. What are you going to do? Cry? You hold it together. You want him to be independent and strong. He is still yours but just temporarily away. You keep his room as is, for when he comes back.

But he doesn’t. He got a job, set up his own home. He got married and has kids. You now see him once every other week. If you are lucky to live within a driving distance. Otherwise, once every other year… No one talks about that.

 

P.S. Please forgive me for a depressing sentiment. I wrote it after spending all morning crying on the fence of my son’s kindergarten since it was his first day.

 

Elena Ledoux